A new blood cancer therapy successfully trialled in Ireland is now available from 1 August 2016 to treat patients with three forms of blood cancer that have limited treatment options, Janssen Ireland announced this week. 

Imbruvica (ibrutinib), a once-daily oral treatment that has been shown to prolong survival and enhance quality of life for adult patients with relapsed or refractory mantle cell lymphoma (MCL), chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) and Waldenstrom’s macroglobulineamia (WM), has been reimbursed in Ireland.

The first person in Europe to receive ibrutinib for CLL, participated in the RESONATE trial at Beaumont Hospital, Dublin that included nine leukaemia patients and was led by Consultant Haematologist, Dr Patrick Thornton, who says he would like to see more clinical trials carried out in Ireland so that patients can get early access to new treatments before they are fully available.

“I have patients from this trial who are alive and doing well, whom I believe wouldn’t have survived without this therapy,” Dr Thornton said.

“The treatment represents a complete paradigm shift in the treatment of leukaemia”

“It offers hope for the most difficult-to-treat people with various chromosomal deletions that normally do very badly or are resistant to chemotherapy.”